Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Society of Pennsylvania, Inc.

Meeting of May 6, 2017

58th Anniversary Dinner

Dutch-Way Restaurant, Gap, PA


President Tom Walczak called the meeting to order at 1:05 p.m. welcoming members and guests to the 58th Anniversary Dinner of The Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Society of PA.

New Members and Guests included Shannon Morris (Bonnie Shultz’s friend), Frank Mailey (Pam Mailey’s husband), Jim and Colleen McCauley (Son and Daughter-in-Law of Barbara McCauley), Mary Rothlingshofer (George’s mom).  Also attending were Bill and Jenn Caswell (life members from NH). 

Tom reminded everyone that copies of the April minutes were in the box for review. Approval would be sought later in the meeting. 

Treasurer Bob Kuether read the monthly treasurer’s report.  We have one new member, Jack Huber of Richmond VA.  We have 381 renewed members for 2016-17, 10 more than last year.  There were no additions/corrections to the report.  It was approved as read by the membership. 


Joe McCarthy:  After a few weeks delay caused by engineers, Joe’s team is back at work on Sheeder-Hall (PA-15-12).  They hope to finish and be able to hold a grand opening in late June.  Only 25% of the wood being used for Sheeder-Hall is new thus preserving its historic status.  He also reported that 25% of the wood for Blenheim Bridge (NY-48-01) has been cut and ready to be transported to NY.  There are 3,260 pieces of wood for Blenheim.  Only one is an original piece from the bridge.

Pat Cook saw Dimmsville (PA-34-02) after its collapse and reports that the creek has been cleared.  None of the bridge remains on the site.

Joyce Soroka saw Cedarburg Bridge (WI-46-01) a couple of times.  It’s in good shape.

Michael Rudnick made a trip out west and saw Grey’s River (WA-35-01) and Cedar Creek (WA-06-02) in Washington and visited Valley Forge to see Knox (PA-15-15 #2).

Michelle Jacobson:  The town of Oxford, PA is advertising a special series of ‘First Friday’ events and as part of their promotion campaign has published a brochure entitled “See Local Chester County Bridges”.

Barbara McCauley visited a few Bradford and Sullivan County bridges which she reports are in good shape.

Brian McGee and Karen Bittinger visited Keller’s/Guy Bard (PA-36-13), Forry’s (PA-36-28), Shenk’s Mill (PA-36-30 #2) and Siegrist Mill (PA-36-37 #2) bridges in Lancaster County yesterday which were all in good shape.

Bill Caswell, president of the National Society for Preservation of Covered Bridges (NSPCB), made a few announcements.  He and Jenn are here today on the way home from a trip to Kentucky.  There he met with officials of the Tourism Department who are developing a covered bridge trail in an effort to promote their bridges. The Grange City Bridge (KY-35-05) is in bad shape with an abutment severely eroding.  Bill was there also to raise awareness of the need to preserve that bridge.  Arnold Graton also attended the meeting and offered his services to install a steel support as a temporary fix until further repairs can be made.  As the NSPCB begins efforts to create an updated World Guide the surplus of the 2009 issue is being donated to libraries.  He and Jenn delivered 200 copies of the World Guide to the Smedleys this weekend.  They will be delivered to the PA Central Library in Harrisburg on Tuesday.

The NSPCB has a 40 foot town lattice truss bridge for sale.  The bridge was constructed for a load testing project funded by a National Parks Service grant. The bridge has a floor system and walls but no roof.  All reasonable offers will be considered. If you know anyone who is interested please contact Bill.

The NSPCB will hold their annual safari in Oregon this year August 26-28.  There will be a small bus available for those who choose not to drive the tour.  Next year’s NSPCB tour will be held in the Fall in Ashtabula County, OH.

Bill Haag announced that Pine Bank (PA-63-35) in Washington County has been repaired.


President Tom Walczak reported that Dimmsville collapsed on April 11th.   Also Cedar Bridge (IA-61-03 #2) was destroyed by arson.  They are hoping to rebuild it.

First Vice President, Jim Smedley and Gloria visited 11 bridges in southeast Ohio last month and also stopped by Philippi Bridge (WV-01-01) in West Virginia.  All of the bridges were in very nice condition, especially those in Washington County, Ohio.  Philippi Bridge looks great.

Roddy Road Bridge (MD-10-02 #2) is complete with the exception of painting the east siding.  It looks great as does the new park near the bridge.  All new wood was used for the kingpost truss making this a #2 bridge.  Loy's Station Bridge (MD-10-03 #2) park has also been completed and the bridge has been recently painted.

Jim and Gloria will be providing a program for ESL (English as a Second Language) students from Millersville, PA in late June/early July and also in late July.  This is a hands-on program to educate students about covered bridges and helping them learn the English language.  The sessions will be at Kurtz’s Mill Bridge in Lancaster County Park.  Students age from pre-school to high school age and are divided in 4 groups based on age. They will come to a pavilion where Jim will talk about covered bridges, then proceed to the bridge for more discussion.   Please see Jim or Gloria if you would like to help out with these sessions.

The deadline for PA Crossings Newsletter is June 4th, the weekend of our safari in Bedford and Somerset counties.

Second Vice President, Ray Finkelstein went to Shady Maple Restaurant on his birthday and stopped at Poole Forge (PA-36-01) which is looking good as usual. On April 29 he set up table at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Allentown to support Bogert’s Bridge Restoration.  The day was nice but it was very windy and they spent most of the day trying to keep things from flying off the table and the attendance was poor.  He thanked Bob and Judy for all their help.  He was advised by Karen that she received a $13,000 grant for Bogert’s (PA-39-01).  On May 2nd Ray set up a table at the Lower Macungie Community Night.  He felt it was very successful in promoting awareness of covered bridges.  This is a non-selling/information only event but many people stopped at the table and he passed out lot of TBCBS info.  Ray will give a presentation on June 27th at Luther Crest Community.  He took another ride to Bedford and Somerset counties for the Safari and of course saw those bridges and  his usual  Lehigh County Bridges.  Ray will be at the Welcome Center on 78 for covered bridge week.

Third Vice President, Steve Wolfhope visited Perrine (NY-56-01) on his way to a model railroad event in New York.  He has placed his SPCBW display at the I-276W Welcome Center for PA Tourism Week but they will not allow him to leave it up for SPCBW.

Fourth Vice President, Tim McLaughlin stopped by Bitzer’s Mill (PA-36-04) which is now open.  The wingwall has been shored up.  He also visited Speakman’s #1 (PA-15-05) a couple times checking the water level after heavy rains.  He visited Gibson’s (PA-15-10) and found it closed although no damage was readily visible.  Joe McCarthy added that one diagonal support was broken so the bridge was closed until repaired.

Recording Secretary, Gloria Smedley - no report.

Corresponding Secretary / Program Chair Pamela A. Heisey – no report.

Treasurer Bob Kuether thanked all those who will be manning displays next week for Tourism Week and the following week for See PA’s Covered Bridges Week.  The complete list of centers  and locations, counties, and members participating is as follows:

Centers/ Locations



I-83 N


Jim & Gloria Smedley

I-81 N


Joyce Soroka

I-70 N


Bob & Judy Kuether

I-79 N


Bob & Judy Kuether

I-80 E


Tom Walczak

I-95 N


Mike Rudnick

I-78 W


Linda & Ray Finkelstein

I-81 S


Bob & Judy Kuether

I-276 W


Steve Wolfhope

15 South


Bob & Judy Kuether

Lancaster Visitor Center


Bob & Judy Kuether

Hershey Public Library


Bob & Judy Kuether


Historian Fred J. Moll – Covered bridges are being more recognized for their scenic beauty and as a favorite backdrop for photographers.  This month Fred and Shirley came across three covered bridges used as backdrops for photography.   First, the Reading Eagle of April 6, 2017 had the photograph of a man practicing for the Boston Marathon.  The backdrop of the photograph was the inside of Wertz’s Red Covered Bridge near Reading.  Secondly, he and Shirley were at the Poole Forge Bridge three weeks ago.  A midget racecar was unloaded from a trailer and pushed up the abutment to the entrance of the bridge for a public relations shot.   Thirdly, Dan’s Camera City in Allentown has a photo shoot at the Kreidersville Covered Bridge as one of their courses.  The course, on May 10, is on flash photography at the bridge, and includes a live model in front of the covered bridge.  Cost of the program is $64.99 and you must pre-register.          

            Last month Fred did a covered bridge program at the Fleetwood Grange.  It was a 30 minute program about covered bridges in general that included a question and answer period.  He got many questions on covered bridges and shared two of them with the group.  One lady asked who was Theodore Burr.  He was never asked this before and it told him she was paying attention to the program when he showed ten photos of our society and what we do.   The other question he was asked was a question that he did not know the answer to.  This was the first time he had ever been asked a question that he did not have an answer for.  It involved a photograph of a Romantic Shelter that was on their program cover and she wanted to know the name of the bridge.  Fred told her he was not familiar with that bridge and explained to her the difference between a Romantic Shelter and an authentic covered bridge. This month he was asked to do another 30 minute covered bridge program for the VFW in Oley on the covered bridges of Berks County  (May 22, 7:00 PM). 


REPORTS OF ILLNESSES OR DEATHS – Joyce Soroka thanked everyone for the many cards and  expressions of sympathy for the passing of her mother back in January.  Doug Smith, a long time member, passed away on April 20th.  Raymond Musselman, brother of Doris Musselman, passed away on April 25th.

OLD BUSINESS – Ray gave a safari update.  He thanked Bob Kuether, Jim Smedley, Dave Green, and Steve Wolfhope who all made various trips with him to Bedford/Somerset to map out the safari route.

·         We will be meeting at the Quality Inn in Bedford June 2nd.  Our regular meeting will be at 8PM at the motel.  We have a meeting room reserved and the hotel will supply coffee. Water and Safari snacks will be handed out along with your Safari Program Book.


·         If you do have a CB please bring it with you so we can keep best communication as possible.


·         We will see 9 Bridges on Saturday (8 in Bedford 1 in Somerset) - it is a full day.  We will be taking our group picture at Dr. Knisley Bridge.  Please wear your Safari Shirt.


·         We will end up in Somerset County at the Somerset Quality Inn for Saturday and Sunday nights.


·         Sunday, we will be stopping early at Shepperd’s Farm Restaurant & Ice Cream Shoppe for a rest stop and to pickup pre-ordered sandwiches for lunch. 


·         We will be having a picnic lunch at Somerset Historical Society (Walter’s Mill Bridge as well). 


·         Last stop on Sunday will be the Flight 93 Memorial. He asked if members want to attend the talk given by Park Rangers please let him know so they can be ready for our group. It is important that we arrive before 3PM as that is the time of the last talk.  There is a new Visitors Center that is remarkable so if you want to attend the talk it is best to do that and then see the Visitor Center which closes at 5PM.  The wall and park itself closes at dusk. If you do not wish to go to the Memorial you can go back to the motel or if you will not be going on Monday your Safari will end here. 


·         If you want to have an early dinner there is a great local restaurant about 1 mile east of the exit from Flight 93 called the Lincoln Restaurant on Lincoln Highway.  He thinks they close at 5PM


·         We will see seven bridges Sunday and the Memorial.


·         On Monday, we will see 5 bridges. Last will be Jackson Mill ending at about 1:30.  Jackson Mill is near the Turnpike and I70.


·         We will not be visiting Hewitt, Palo Alto and Shaffer’s. Also, Claycomb is not on the list to visit but is one mile south of the motel in Bedford.  If you would like to visit this bridge you can do so on your own. 


Tom Walzcak reminded the group that May 13th is the start of See Pennsylvania’s Covered Bridges Week and encouraged all to go visit bridges and take along family and friends.  Jim Smedley read the governor’s proclamation for SPCBW.

NEW BUSINESS – Jim Smedley inquired if anyone knew anything about Dellville (PA-50-16).  Anita Ford heard that work  began on May 1st on the access road.  Linda Finkelstein checked online and saw information stating the rebuild will start this summer.  No one had information about the status of insurance or other funding for the rebuild.

COVERED BRIDGE ITEMS – Ray Finkelstein showed an empty salad dressing bottle that had a covered bridge on it.

Tom thanked Judy and Desi Kuether, Ed Myers, and Linda Havens for their work on the centerpieces for today’s event, and Bob and Judy Kuether for all their work in coordinating the event.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:  Minutes were approved as presented.


Our Next Meeting will be held on Friday June 2nd at 8:00 pm at the Quality Inn in Bedford during our annual safari.


Tickets were drawn for 50/50 raffle and table centerpieces.


ADJOURNMENT - The meeting was adjourned at 2:20 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted by Recording Secretary, Gloria Smedley

Revised May 9, 2017